I wouldn't be here, writing for this page, if I wasn't a Dragonball fan.

How does one become a Dragonball fan?? Well, my encounter is probably one of the most convoluted ways to get there. I got there because of Sonic the Hedgehog.

"Sonic", you say?

Doesn't make sense, does it?

Well, back in early 1994, I was an employee with a video game shop. I had a Korean friend there who was into all sorts of anime, and he would rant and rave about all sorts of shows. But it was the day he showed me the secret of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 that I started into my curiosity of the show.

For those of you who have never played Sonic 2, there's a code in there (I forget the numbers) that allows you to access "Super" Sonic, an invincible Super Saiyajin Hedgehog that blasts through enemies, runs on spikes, and stays golden as long as there are gold rings in your pocket. My Korean friend started rambling about Dragonball Z, and so I got curious.

A couple of magazine articles and one or two videotapes later, I was irrevocably hooked. The show is still a major hobby for me, as I am now dedicated to completing my collection of DBZ and DBGT tapes.

((Note: PLEASE do not email me for copies! I take trades for episodes I am missing. If you are compelled to Email, please title it "DBZ/GT inquiry" and we'll talk))

In the four years since, I've plastered my walls with posters and scrolls, mastered some of the games, adorned a bookcase with figures, takubons (compilations of the DBZ comic), models and miniatures. I've also dressed as Dende, Gokou, and Super Saiyajin Gokou for Halloween.

What draws me to the show? Well, I speak mainly for the Japanese show when I say the lighthearted comedy that peppers an intense story, earth shaking (Literally!) fights, involving drama, increasing tensions, and some of the best butt-kicking warriors I've ever watched.

(Please take a moment to bow to your favorite DBZ image or shrine to Akira Toriyama. Thank you.)

Despite my intense love for the show, it wasn't til two or three weeks before the season started that I learned that DBZ was coming to the states. I was at first excited, then became quite worried.... I know that those of ACT - Actually Communist- *ahem* - Action for Children's Television was out there somewhere, ready to pounce upon this masterpiece and rip it to shreds.... so I prayed, and hoped, and searched.

When the series did arrive, I settled in to see what was going to happen. The arrival of Radditz I already had by this time, so I knew what was supposed to happen. Of course, my ear was open to the voices, and I listened carefully.

I'll not drone on and on, I'll give you the short and easy on the major members of the cast up to this point.

-Gokou : I preferred Ian Corlett, but the new voice is a strong second. I just worry that neither of these guys can a) scream properly, or b) pronounce the power moves correctly.

-Gohan : BLEAH!! Gohan's voice I find rather bratty. Gohan is supposed to be a lot more innocent that his voice suggests. He's also a bigger crybaby than the show actually tells you.

-Buruma (Bulma): Her voice is nicely done. She's still in her "semi-spoiled" phases and cops some pretty good attitude.

-Chi Chi. Just the right amount of worry, maybe even a little more, to make her sound like a potential "worried widow".

-Kuririn (Krillin): This poor boy is the "Charlie Brown" of the series. The voice hints well toward that.

-Piccoro (piccolo) : This is one of the best voices in the show. Sinister, deep, uncaring, and oh so Dai-ma-oh.

-Bejita (Vegeta): <shudder> His voice is weaselly and sinister, not "Royal" enough for a Prince of the Saiyajin.

-Freezer (Frieza?): I read one opinion suggesting that Freezer sounds like an "old woman with a three-pack-a-day habit". Personally, I think the voice does sound a little scratchy, but I feel it carries the character well- a condescending despot who takes what he wants and kills (okay, "Sends to another dimension" <gag>) anyone who tries to stop him.

Now, on to the show itself. There's an attempt, I think, to keep a lot of the story intact, and to step things up a bit. When Radditz arrives, there's a short exchange of looks between him and the others, as well as one with him and Gokou. This look is much longer in the Japanese version and is used to build tensions. This is a minor point, however, to a continuity error in Radditz's speech about the destruction of the Saiyajin (Sayan?) homeworld. Radditz states the destruction was only three years ago. Thanks to this statement (which is false), that means Gokou escaped the planet LONG before its destruction, voiding everything that happened in the Bardock special! (Note: Bejita further destroys any chance of us seeing the Bardock special in the US by stating that Gokou's father is a scientist. Bardock is a "grunt" in the Saiyajin military.)

Another major continuity error is when Gokou sees Bejita's Oozaru (giant monkey) form and thinks that this (hello~!) ALIEN FROM A FAR AWAY PLANET killed his grandfather and wrecked the Budokai arena? Gokou himself was responsible (though he could plead insanity and ignorance) for all that destruction, and in the Japanese show apologized to his grandfather (and I think to everyone else) for what he had done- can we say "responsibility"? I don't think Gokou's that stupid, especially after listening to all of Radditz's ranting about his missing tail in earlier episodes.

When we see the fights, the battles themselves are at points "sped up", i.e. the tape looks like its played a little faster to make it look more intense. Not something a lot of people are going to notice. What we DO notice is silly things like flashes placed over people's faces when they're struck and quick camera cuts to keep you from seeing things like a grown man striking a child. Then to add insult to injury (pardon the pun), most injuries dealt to Gohan later (when he trained with Piccoro) are conveniently "painted over" so it doesn't look so bad.

(Time out while I comment that digital painting over should be saved for the evening news and not for a show whose drama stems from the intensity of the injuries dealt.)

*ahem* I don't think I have to say much about the "Next Dimension". But let me let you in on an interesting parallel. The word used to describe the afterworld in Japanese is "anoyo" which means, literally "another world". And as for "HFIL".... it's unfortunate that we can't say what is essentially another word for "Hades".

I can understand other coverups (naked kids and taking a leak on camera are kinda taboo here), but these people are going to have to lighten up when it comes to the cuts and bruises in this show. There must be some double standard if they can show Oozaru (giant monkey) Bejita crushing Gokou's legs but they can't show normal Bejita clobbering Gohan.

I can't emphasize this enough for a couple of reasons. One, Gokou's and Radditz's "Deaths" lose a lot of punch. This is a shame, because for Gokou it's a great sacrifice he makes - his life for the sake of the planet's - that I think would be rather inspirational to an audience. Two, Gohan's injuries dealt him by Piccoro are part of the training regimen- he's trying to toughen the kid up for battle. Three, Bejita DID kill Gurudo- and talked to the disembodied head (the body was digitally replaced) before destroying it. Four, what will this do in future segments, such as when Kuririn gets "Sent to the next dimension" by Freezer? It hardly has the punch of "Kuririn's dead". (insert "Kenny" joke here)

This may not matter... despite rumor to the contrary, more episodes will not be aired on Cartoon Network. I've heard that there will be more episodes available on tape.... which may yet be good news. Could that mean no more painting over blood? No more sped up fights? Seeing the ENTIRE fight? no more "Next Dimension"? No more oni lifeguards in "HFIL" shirts?

I won't hold my breath.... I'll just plug in a tape I bought from someone in the Asiaville neighborhood, settle in, and watch Gokou kick butt the old- fashioned way.

Japanese style.

Can't beat it.

Sorry, FUNimation.

- Tanglemane